Title: Independence Day

Pairing: Myka/HG but all other characters are here too

Rating: G

Summary: Set in my "And They Lived" universe, its just the gang watching the fireworks on the 4th.

Warm light from the windows of the B & B spilled out into the warm darkness and crickets chirped as a rather motley group, arms loaded down with various supplies, made its meandering, noisy way into the South Dakota night.

Claudia brought the blankets (actually she made Steve carry most of them) Leena, with Artie's help, brought drinks. Helena and Myka had their hands full corralling their daughter and Pete's son (At five, Alexandria was a bundle of anticipation. Hannah, only three, had been sent off to a sleepover at a friend's in Univille.) In exchange, Pete and Tasha were in charge of snacks.

Trailer was in his crate in the kitchen. He wasn't fond of fireworks. Dickens was probably under a bed somewhere. Or standing outside Trailer's crate taunting him.

Squabbling happily about who got to sit by whom and who had which drink, somehow the blankets managed to get spread, the snacks and drinks passed out, and the two children parked in acceptable laps (Nathan with Pete and Alexandria in Helena's arms). Claudia snuggled herself into Steve's arms then pulled Leena close so the three of them formed a comfortable pile. Tasha sprawled next to Pete, her hand resting on his knee, and Helena and Myka took up a similar position as Claudia and Steve, Myka holding Helena who held Alex. Artie plopped himself down on the end and was joined a few minutes later by Vanessa who apologized a bit breathlessly for being late. Artie couldn't even manage a sarcastic rejoinder as she lowered herself gracefully by his side and quietly took his hand.

A mini argument over who got to "protect" the potato chips between Nathan and Claudia was interrupted by a piercing whistle and sharp "pop!"

"There!" Cried Alexandria, followed by a shout from Nathan. The adults just exchanged grins and fond looks and settled in to watch the Univille fireworks display light the night sky. It might have been a small town, but they took the 4th seriously, and the pyrotechnics were visible for miles around, allowing the residents of Leena's to view them from the backyard of the B & B.

That first firework had indeed been a warning, because no sooner had the bright white light faded, then it was followed by blooming bursts of red, blue, green, silver, yellow, purple.

The "ooohs" and "aaaahs" were often lost to the rolling crack of the distant explosions or covered by the screams of the rockets, but it didn't matter. For a while, adults and children alike sat with rapt attention, watching the fireworks paint the night sky.

Even when it was over the adults didn't move, though Nathan and Alex were given one sparkler each and turned loose in the (thankfully wet) grass to play.

Eventually, Tasha and Pete took the kids upstairs to bed, Artie and Vanessa headed back to her apartment in town, and Claudia, Steve and Leena went inside to have a nightcap.

Helena and Myka remained, Helena content to relax in the gentle, protective circle of Myka's arms. They stayed silent as the crickets resumed their chirping and fireflies came out, their gentle glow dancing through the grass like tiny fireworks themselves.

It was a beautiful, peaceful night and neither woman had any desire to move, more than happy to simply watch the stars come out and savor being together.